Summer Genetti has been reminding diners that dessert is integral to a complete dining experience, not an afterthought.

From the underbellies of former culinary gems Pho Paris and Chalk to the current award-winning The Palace restaurant in the Cincinnatian Hotel, Summer Genetti has been reminding diners that dessert is integral to a complete dining experience, not an afterthought.

Although Genetti has made a career out of creating elaborate financiers, tarts, sorbets and the like, she has a genuine appreciation for the kitchen she grew up in. Her “No Bake Cheese Pie” is a realistic portrayal of a chef raised in a post-Atomic Era.

“I feel such recipes are a part of our birthright,” says Genetti. “Ours was the first generation to see almost every home convert into a two income household. With that came a drastic change in how family meals were prepared and served, speed becoming the most important factor.”

“I feel we’re finally on the cusp of a balance between whole and healthful ingredients and inventive techniques to get the food on the table, butts in the seats and smiles on faces.”

This recipe satisfied everyone at young Genetti’s family table— her mother because she could come home from work and interact with her daughters by making the pie together, and Genetti and her sister because the pie is delicious. As Genetti developed her cooking talents, she created variations of the dessert: tiny glasses of “cheesecake shots” served with demitasse spoons; Key Lime pie dip with Swedish ginger snaps; honey goat cheese tartlets. 

Although unsure of the origins of the recipe (she imagines it comes from a magazine or even a cream cheese package) Genetti vows, “It’s not going anywhere anytime soon!”



  • 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust


STEP 1: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat cream cheese until there are no lumps. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula.

STEP 2: Add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Beat on medium high until smooth. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and pour in the lemon juice.

STEP 3: Start mixing on low so the lemon juice doesn’t fly out. Increase speed to medium high and beat until smooth.

STEP 4: Pour contents of the bowl into a prepared graham cracker crust and chill for 2 hours or until set.


  • Slice fresh strawberries and toss with a little sugar and St-Germaine (Elderflower Liquor)
  • Use Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice or fresh Key Lime juice instead of lemon juice to make a Key Lime pie
  • Try gingersnaps, vanilla wafers, shortbread cookies, pecan sandies or coconut macaroons instead of graham cracker for the crust
  • Make a Honey Goat Cheese Tart by replacing 3 oz. of cream cheese with fresh goat cheese and 2 Tbsp of the sweetened condensed milk with honey

Photos by Tiffany Dawn Nicholson